Introduction: Corolla 2007 Ipod Radio Aux Input Hack

Picture of Corolla 2007 Ipod Radio Aux Input Hack

I have spent countless hours trying to find a cheap way to get my ipod connected to my radio with a very good quality link. FM modulators suck, you know all about it. I have heard a lot from others online too. This is my cheap fix that might work with yours too, and im pretty sure that all the interfaces are the same for the internal 1-CD player. Cd changers are even easier and I think I saw a demo for that before too.

TOOLS NEEDED: soldering iron, wire strippers(your teeth...jk), screwdriver
ITEMS NEEDED: long extension cable for headphones, you will be cutting one end off.
if you can find in your garage or somewhere a headphone (male) coupling with an open end, then you are lucky and you don't have to buy one. I just got mine from radioshack its quality and the wires are big and easy to solder.
Sometimes headphone wires will be small and enamel-coated (instead of insulated rubber) and they can be tricky so don't use them unless you are zuper awezome.
SKILLS REQ'D : soldering, understanding your own car's components, understanding basic radio components and being comfortable altering them.

I have pictures from my radio, and you can see how it was done from the pictures I took after I finished and was putting it back together.
It depends on which radio you have, I have the A51813 well thats what it says on the outside
Model No. 816120-02430
Ref No. CQ-JS7460X
Serial No. MX658147

Step 1: Take the Radio Out

Picture of Take the Radio Out

I have seen other places showing how to take the radio out but all you have to do is take the shifter cover out, you can pry it from the back a little and the front a little and it will come out.
Taking off the heater and shelf middle console only has one screw which is in the center knob(the fan speed).
Taking out the vent part is easy if you shove your fingers on the sides and push while you pry a little.
Main point - Get the radio out
Once the radio's surroundings are removed, it is easy to unscrew the 4 bolts underneath with a long tool that fits and when taking it out or putting it in, you must go straight and slow and pay attention to where it is going, maybe use a flashlight if you can't see inside. Mine had 6 holes because two of the screw sites had additional holes where a plastic spike went. Keep track of the screws because the next step has many more.

Step 2: The Radio Dissasembly

Picture of The Radio Dissasembly

There are 3 different type of screws. The first are the huge ones for the side harness, take those out first and put the harnesses aside.
The next are the little metal to metal screws, those are the majority.
There is also one more metal to metal screw, but it is for the cd drive, and there are two screws that look different from all the rest. They are different sizes, and need to be put in the right hole.
There are a couple screws on the sides of the radio, on the top of the radio, and on the back there are about 6 that are connected to the metal outer shell. take all of them out and the top part that says open should be opened first, then the sides, which slide straight up.
The cd part is loose and should slide straight up out.
-Be careful with the cable, and unplug it. The images are of it after I soldered the wires, but you can stil see how it fits together.
I used a long headphone jack I got from radioshack and cut it to my desired length and stripped the wires. I played around to get the right ones, and the solder points are circled in the pic.

Step 3: Put It Back In

Picture of Put It Back In

Put everything back the same way it went in.
The cd screws are the lighter looking ones.
If you want to play a cd, make sure the ipod is unplugged.
If you want to listen to ipod, just put a cd in there upside down, it will read error, but the ipod can still play.

If you have any questions just ask


primer111 (author)2008-08-17

Broke one of the dials on the air control unit trying to extract the radio. Your Part 1 probably needs more explanation, and perhaps pictures, than "get it out." This will probably cost me more to fix once everything is said and done.

izzy1222 (author)primer1112008-10-09

Ok, I have to use a silent cd to get my ipod sound to come through my factory stereo using the cd changer cable. But it is really low, I can hardly hear it. Any ideas on what I did wrong?

danii (author)izzy12222008-12-27

I was also in this situation. The problem is that the CD player is putting a load on the line, and your AUX cable is leeching from that same source. My theory is that the extra voltage from the CD player (which I measured out to be around ~2.0 mV) renders some distortion or noise to the signal of your MP3 player. The solution is to remove the ribbon connector for the CD so you disconnect the CD capability completely. Please note that this is a compromise you're making...You're replacing the CD player for an AUX input basically. That might affect your resale value unless you're inclined to go through this again before you sell your car. Also note that unlike the original post, you won't get an "Error 1", which is an error that shows when the CD is unreadable (because in that situation, the CD is upside down). Instead, you will get an "Error 3", which I'm guessing is the error code for a malfunctioning CD player (because we removed the connection). I really hope this helps. Let me know.

PatrickB145 (author)danii2016-05-07

Do you think if I remove the ribbon connector that i will be able to switch to cd mode in order to listen to the aux input ? Because it needs a cd inside the slot to be able to switch to cd mode. Doesn't this signal goes through the ribbon connector also ?

bradley547 (author)PatrickB1452016-09-07

You don't need to disconnect the ribbon connector. You can add a line adapter that will convert the headphone output to something similar to the CD input. That way you can still use your CD! Instructions are here...

I also added a power line from the AUX power and GND lines so I could power a cheap SD card reader/amplifier so I don't need to plug in my phone every time. Works great!

TKR (author)danii2012-11-06

Finally, somebody bothered to mention the dual loads on the line !!! This method of removing/not using the ribbon cable from the CD player should be mentioned by the author as being one of the first steps, to avoid damaging your ipod/CD player.

For those interested in more, note that the CD player output is a low impedance and is driving the high impedance input of the radio/tuner. Putting another device (such as an ipod ) on the same lines, means that you have now added a low impedance load to the line. So CD player and/or Ipod now encounter a much lower impedance resulting in less voltage transfer and also higher current draw. (basic voltage divider principle).

Bottom line, leep the ribbon cable from the CD player disconnected before making this mod - when you get ready to sell the car, re-attach the cable, and remove your mod.


PatrickB145 (author)TKR2016-05-07

Do you think if I remove the ribbon connector that i will be able to switch to cd mode in order to listen to the aux input ? Because it needs a cd inside the slot to be able to switch to cd mode. Doesn't this signal goes through the ribbon connector also ?

danii (author)primer1112008-12-27

You also should've read the comments. I posted earlier a link that shows you how to disassemble the dash.

onionjello (author)2016-07-20

Thank you so much for this instructable. I was able to do this with out much effort, mental or physical. I left the CD player unplugged from the radio. I get an error message but the aux in works great.


bebzmuda (author)2015-11-22

I did it, but I'm not sure what's going on with my volume adjustment since then. The knob on my stereo no longer works and I can only adjust the volume through my phone. Does anyone know what I might have done wrong? Could the soldering have affected volume functionality?

latimerf (author)2015-05-25

Did this for a 2006 Toyota Camry. Worked very well! I had to do some other steps, however the principle remained the same; find R, L, and Ground on the underside of the CD ribbon cable port. I had to use a different Ground soldering point since I wasn't sure of where it was. There one fairly close to the ribbon cable ports. I cant believe I almost paid over $130 for an interface module! I had no interference with the CD player, even thou I didn't have to insert the CD upside down. I will be burning a silent track on a CD and use that just in case, but it is not necessary.

So far i can hook up my iPhone and take calls over the speakers. In the future I will use a splitter with an Microphone jack in order to hook up an external mic for better communication during calls.

ericbarnes88 (author)2014-09-06

Worked like a charm. I would've never known about this. Thanks so much!

I'm hooking up to the kinovo bluetooth aux thing. That way I can have handsfree calling, and listen to my music without hooking up my device

supra92 (author)2013-01-11

i pull all the cables out of my radio and put it back to factory , this idea didn't work good for my Toyota radio, the solution was to purchase an auxiliary audio input interface
this connects to the 12 pin plug on the back of the radio and you can select the aux from the radio by pressing the CD button twice
this is what i use and it took 15 minutes to install i remove the radio so many times that i am an expert

chrisayad (author)supra922013-01-12

I did find similar items on ebay for around US$50. It is possible to use this device to speed up the time it takes to install. The time it saves you may or may not be worth the price. You should figure this out for yourself. but from the link I found:

Toyota Radio must have external CD Changer capabilities.
Not compatible with factory external CD changer present. ( trunk )
Not compatible with both factory external CD changer and satellite present. Takes place of one compatible with factory Toyota navigation radios. Connects to 12-pin mini connector at headunit.

My instructable shows you the basics to understand how to make your ipod work with ANY type of external or internal components as long as they deal with analog audio. I hope this was useful, keep building.

pcp_9588 (author)2012-05-14

I hope this instructable is still active.. I really need help! So i tried doing this with a Corolla 2006 single cd player. I followed the instructions perfectly, or so I thought... My cd player won't even play CD anymore. It'll say Error 3, then spit my cd back out! What can be the reason for this? How can I fix this? Thank you for anyone who can help.

supra92 (author)2011-10-03

Just try to do this corolla radio 86120-02450 its kind of working but i hear the music cd and ipod at the same time, it is also not the best audio quality lot of distorsion is there a a way to stop the cd player ? like a pause button ?
im sure that will help a lot , cd player is working ok
thank you for the pictures

ddeforest (author)supra922012-02-14

I modded the CD player in my 2005 4Runner the same way. Works like a charm!

Try putting the CD in upside-down. The screen will say "Error" but the ipod will play fine. As far as distortion, try turning the volume on the CD player UP and the iPod's volume at about 60%.

leilek (author)2011-10-23

I opened my 2005 toyota camry le radio and it is different. Any one tried with success? It is Toyota 86120-AA160 Fujitsu Ten 12200-6350C101. There is a label "Aux in". Any one can guide me? Thanks!

bzipf (author)2011-08-29

Hey I just did this on my 2007 Toyota Corolla. I soldered everything like you said and I got the auxiliary input to work so i can play my ipod now which is great but now my cd player won't work. Is that normal? Is the cd player no longer supposed to work because I've just "hi-jacked" the audio from it to use for the ipod? Please help.


eo'connor (author)bzipf2011-10-01

Hey the CD player should work afterwards, in fact, everything should. You may have soldiered something together inadvertently would be my guess.

eo'connor (author)2011-10-01

Great instructions. I had a different model radio. I have a 2004 Corolla with single cd/cassette player, model A56821 so the layout was a little different. I actually soldiered my cables right onto the CD player board. There are pins marked L R and ACOM. There is a tiny bit of soldier on them already so i just coated the tips of my wire with a little more soldier, and then connected the two. If you have never soldiered before, i would highly suggest practicing, since it does take a steady hand. I also had to make a small hole in the corner of the case, since the cable wouldnt fit through the gap. I secured the cable with a lot of electrical tape. Over all, it was a pretty easy project.

NOTE: One huge thing that helped me was watching a video on how to get the dash off. I was able to get the radio out in literally less that 4 mins. Go on youtube and look for instalation videos for aux inputs, and you can find several where they take the pannel off. It really is simple if you just see how it's done. All i used was a tiny flat head screw driver and a 10mm socket with extention.

NOTE NOTE: If you are having to FORCE the pannel to come off, you are doing it wrong. You will more than likely break something. Just fyi.

Hitsuke (author)2011-09-25

I don't see any mention of using solder to connect the wires to the pins. Do I just use a soldering iron to fuse the wires to the pin points?

clintwire (author)2011-06-29

This worked perfectly! Awesome instructions and idea. It was pretty tough Soldering the wires cause the metal solder points were ridiculously small. And for some reason it was a beast trying to get the stereo cover back on. It works great though and is a cheap way to listen to an Ipod.

jacintoalfa (author)2010-11-11

i have the 3.5mm extention cable, when i cut it, how do i know or test which one is right, left and ground?

rthompson3 (author)jacintoalfa2011-04-03

I found this info helpful when we did this hack yesterday. For a 3.5mm stereo cord, the pinouts are as follows:
The Tip is your Left audio input (LCh).
The Ring (next contact) is the Right audio input (RCh).
The Sleeve (last contact, near the strain relief and cord) is Common.

You'll want to use a multimeter from the wire to each of these inputs and write down the color of the wire associated with LCh, RCh, and Common.

Also, we traced the inputs from the CD player to the board where you'll solder. The inputs were clearly labeled on the CD players board. Finally, we didn't remove the ribbon connector because it seemed to use just the through-hole mounts (with light-to-moderate force, I couldn't separate the connector). This required some careful soldering, but it worked out okay.

Thanks for this tutorial - I love the sound quality!

NaVoronda (author)2011-03-15

Works for 2005 Tacomas as well. Thanks a bunch!

zitosport (author)2010-09-30

I need help with a 2004 Corollas the stereo is a single cd player but instead of having 14 pins it has 17 do i figure it out tohave the right one?? I tried picking the same ones as in the pic but it didnt email thanks in advanced!

RoverTFord (author)2008-03-14

Pretty sweet hack man. I tried to do it on my 2005 Corolla (A51814 - 6 disc changer) stereo, an it didn't work. Is there something I should have done different because it's a changer? For instance, I know that in your instructions, there was a ribbon that plugged into the soldering site, but on my stereo's board, there's no ribbon there (although this seemed to be in the identical place you soldered to in yours). thanks homes.

alexypagan (author)RoverTFord2010-09-12

If it's a changer check this out:

zer0vector (author)alexypagan2010-09-22

I just followed the instructions on that site for a 2007 corolla with CD changer. It worked perfectly. Just one note, I believe he says to route the cord through the back of the radio, while showing in the picture routing it towards the front, towards the button panel. FYI, follow what he shows, not what he says. Route the cord through the very convenient hole near the connector, then nibble off a bit of the front faceplate plastic near the edge to get it out the rest of the way. It will become pretty clear when you're in there doing it.

Also, be aware that the CD player can put a lot of stress on the solder connections if you have your wires coming up off the board, so try to solder them in parallel to the board.

chrisayad (author)RoverTFord2008-03-16

Yes, because you have the cd changer, the radio is the same but the inputs are in a different configuration. Since you said that there is no ribbon where I had one, i am pretty sure that the cd changer must have its own ribbon or cord coming from it that goes into the radio, and that is what you should solder the wire to. To be able to find the correct points to solder to, you have to have the stereo on and in cd mode while its playing a cd that either has low sound or put it in upside down so that the cd player says "CD ERROR" and the amp should still be activated, allowing you to probe for the inputs on the board. You can always start with ground, because it is the easiest to find, and sometimes is combined for both right and left, and then work your way from there. The only thing I am not sure of is the fact that you have a cd changer, and if you put a blank cd in or an upside down cd in, will it still activate the amp? mine does, and thats why it worked, otherwize you would have to have a cd playing at the same time you listen to your ipod. If it is an external changer then it gets ridiculously easy because all you have to do is "tap into" the wires coming out of the back of the radio and there are other instructables out there for that. If anyone has any suggestions or questions i can also be reached by email or leave me your email and ill get bak to u

philgenius (author)chrisayad2009-07-23

wait. Do i test the pins with a voltmeter or what? I remember reading another comment saying that on the 2005 corolla with 6-CD Changer, pin1 read 1.6v while on while pin2 was ground. comment made by boredpoo underneath a comment by jneal, which included a pic of the exact same board that i have.

philgenius (author)philgenius2009-07-23

And if by voltmeter, what do i test for?

philgenius (author)philgenius2009-07-25

Never mind. Tested via voltmeter and found what I was looking for.

For those who have a 6-CD Changer in their 2005 Corolla, the pins to solder should be as follows:

Pin 1 = Right Input
Pin 2 = Ground
Pin 3 = Left Input

On the largest ribbon cable that comes from the CD player.

 I don't understand the RCH, LCH, GND setup, last I stripped one of those small headphone cords there were only 2 wires encased in there. Is my memory flawed? If I use a thicker cord with a 1/4" jack I know that has L, R and G but I don't want a wire that thick coming out of my dashboard.

 If there are only two wires, there are three possibilities:

1. You have a mono jack, meaning one channel. If that's the case, either get another headphone cable or solder the input wire to both left and right channels.

2. The third wire is a wrapping of some sort (almost a sheathing -- I could be wrong on this)

3. You stripped the third wire off (happens to me occasionally).

philgenius (author)philgenius2010-01-02

 The three wire setup is because both wires use a ground, but need separate wires for each side (hence LCH and RCH).

philgenius (author)philgenius2009-07-25

And make a silent CD to use it.

alexypagan (author)2010-09-12

If you go to this site, you will be able to make a SILENCE CD this way you don't need to put a CD upside down plus you can name it however you want. I named mine iPod this way it will display the name iPod during the actual iPod is playing.

dchall8 (author)2007-11-05

I'm completely lost. Your pictures are probably good, but I don't know what I'm looking at in the pictures. You described a lot of screws, but don't go into detail as to which ones we are going to be unscrewing when. Then a magical wire appears, already soldered in, and now you can listen to your MP3??? Huh? Oh and there is a cable involved, but I don't know what cable and where it goes. And there is a long headphone jack. Do you mean a long headphone cable? Doesn't something have to connect to the MP3 player? is it the long headphone jack...cable? Would you mind rewriting some of this to explain what you did? This time, along with a better description of the recipe, can you explain the theory. With the theory explained, this Instructable will apply to every radio, not just a Toyota whatever model. Here's an example if I am not being clear...This Instructable will show you how to connect a RJ-97 jack to a car radio so you can plug any MP3 player in from the headphone connector - or words to that effect. What parts do you need to buy (cables, jacks, etc.)? What tools do you need to use (wire strippers, etc.)? What supplies do you need (solder, etc.)? And my FM transmitter works great!! I don't know what you've been using, but your radio patch better be very easy (and foolproof) for me to change from a wireless system to a wired system.

chrisayad (author)dchall82007-11-05

yes I will try to clean it up a little bit, but you could try not to PURPOSELY act like you don't know what to connect to your headphone jack on your ipod/mp3 player and please don't tell me that FM modulation works great(unless your transmitting talk shows).

The headphone jack from your ipod goes into the male end of a long extension cord for headphones where I cut off the end to be soldered.

One of the pictures is very useful as it shows where the contact points are for the CD INPUT from the TOYOTA RADIO, and IM SURE that other radios will have a different configuration AND you will have to poke around THE CD TO MOTHERBOARD CONNECTION INSIDE THE RADIO, which is difficult and my case was much easier because TOYOTA made the radio very simply and was expecting upgrades (other cd changers etc.)

This whole thing took me about 2 hours, including going to get batteries for the camera.
I suggest unless you can pretty much tell what I was doing by the pictures, don't try it, because there is really not much to explain. One ipod, one extension headphone wire, three solder points, a few screws and you should probably know how to take your car apart without damaging anything.

All the screws that hold everything together need to come out, as you need to access the internal components of the radio.... You should be able to tell which screws are for what...

Do you know how to take your radio out?
Do you know how to take your radio apart?
Look at the picture of the solder points.
Solder ANY stereo input you would like to those points.

Do you know how to take your radio out?
Do you know how to take your radio apart?
Find the part where the CD player inputs to the amplifier and splice your own connection!

I am sorry for the terrible instruction, as this is my first time.
If you have any specific questions that I can answer I would be glad to.

Thanks for the comment about clarity, it was very helpful and although I read instruct ables a lot for ideas I do not usually create them and I plan on contributing what I have time to document.

chrisminglee (author)chrisayad2010-06-03

Chris -

Don't sweat the unclear criticisms about your clarity. Your instructable was fairly well-written, and included pretty good pictures.

Could it clearer? Yes.

Regardless, can people learn a lot from your work? Definitely.

Thanks to your work, I was able to perform a similar hack on my 2006 Corolla with 6-CD Changer. I wrote a guide on that, which I'll link here because I think it supplements your guide.

2006 Corolla CD Changer iPod Hack

If you prefer not to have any link-outs on your page or you feel like I'm spamming you for clicks, send a note and I'll remove this comment.

Thanks again.

periwinkle1239 (author)chrisayad2008-01-21

Chris, what an awesome hack. I am trying to do this on my 04 Corolla. I was hoping that the circuit board layout would be similar to yours, but it's not. I was wondering, did you actually have the radio turned on while you played with it to find the left and right audio pins? For one, the power and speaker cables in my car don't give me much room to have it plugged in, and then work on at the same time. How did you do it? And two, if you work on it while plugged into the car, you must have steady hands while you applied signals to those extremely small pins on the circuit board. Could you elaborate on how you did this? Thanks, Mike

Nevermind I figured it out. Works great! Thanks for the instructable!

TABRadi0 (author)2009-11-18

seeing as how the author blew his stereo, what would be the recommended inline fuse? 1A?

chrisayad (author)TABRadi02010-03-04

you cant blow it unless you hook it up to a POWEReD source. ipods and mp3s are not ever going to blow it. I was stupid and hooked up a home theater to it.. yeah dont do that.

mybreathyourlung (author)2010-01-02


We have the same model unit (A51813) and I followed your instructions and seeing as we have the same model, I used the solder points you used. When testing with a CD upside down, it worked, but barely. I had to have the receiver volume and my iPhone volume all the way up, but it was distorted and not very loud (as full volume should be), plus, the sound was one channel only. 

Now, where I think a problem lies, is that when I used the wires from headphones, but there are only 2 wires there, a left and right. I didn't solder anything to the common because, there wasn't a wire for it. Is this an issue?

It may sound bad because I used cheap wires, but I want to make sure that not using the common/ground solder point isn't an issue. Because of the cheap wires, my solder points might not be the best, hence hearing only one channel. Thanks a lot though.

harnish (author)2009-12-29

My 2004 Corolla has the Single CD/Cassette Player/Radio in it. The layout is different than the pictures. However, I was able to successfully perform the mod. Just remove the unit and remove enough screws on the covers to get the CD unit out of the radio (including the heat sink on the back). Remove the CD ribbon cable. You will find RCH, LCH, and ACOM test point labels on the CD PC board right by the ribbon connector. (Right Channel, Left Channel, and Audio Common) Just solder a coax audio cable (radio shack $10 spool)  to the test points very carefully. They are very small, so this is not for a solder novice. I routed the cable out the back of the radio similar to the instructions on this site. I used a panel mount 1/8" stereo input jack from radio shack and mounted it on the right side near the shifter across from the 12V power plug. Note that the MP3 input works whenever the unit is on, including CD, cassette, and AM/FM. You should disconnect the MP3 player whenever you want to listen to something other than MP3.

thetimsah (author)2009-11-19

i have different model, it looks like yours A51802 but different model . how i find the pins?  i tried 12.13.14.pins  but they have some voltage approximetly 7V. thank you

sundeezy (author)2009-09-13

Can anyone help me figure out which three pins I should use on an '03 corolla? I'm not that skilled (read: completely unskilled) with a multimeter.

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